(Bloomberg) — As battery makers scramble to procure cobalt, nickel and other metals to meet rising consumer demand for electric cars, governmental opposition to strip-mining the seabed for minerals is mounting.
The deep ocean contains the largest estimated deposits of minerals on the planet, potentially worth trillions of dollars. But in recent weeks, Chile, Fiji, Palau and other nations have called for a moratorium on ocean mining until there is a better understanding of the environmental consequences of destroying little-explored and unique deep-sea ecosystems that play an undetermined role in the global climate.
French President Emmanuel Macron, meanwhile, expressed his opposition to seabed mining in June at the United Nations Ocean Conference in Lisbon, Portugal.
UN members states must “create the legal framework to stop high sea mining and to not allow new activities putting in danger these ecosystems,” Macron said on the sidelines of the conference on June 30. The pronouncements are striking, observers say, because those nations are members of the International Seabed Authority, the UN-affiliated organization created to regulate deep-sea mining.
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